Ars Nova Workshop in April

Steve Coleman in Paris, July 2004
Steve Coleman in Paris, July 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Upcoming shows from Philly’s Ars Nova Workshop:

Wednesday, April 4, 8pm
Dave Rempis, saxophones; Fred Lonberg-Holm, bass; Paal Nilssen-Love, drums
+ LASSE MARHAUG, electronics

The Maas Building, 1325 Randolph Street, $15

The Philadelphia debut of heavy-hitting power-trio Ballister, and a rare solo performance by Norwegian noise artist Lasse Marhaug. Uniting two leading Chicago improvisers and Norway’s Nillssen-Love, Ballister’s debut, Bastard String, celebrates the trio’s furious capacity for daring improvisation, blistering solos and compelling dynamics. Marhaug, who’s worked with Merzbow, Mats Gustafsson and Sunn O))), has been at the forefront of the noise scene for two decades, frequently crossing into the domains of improv, free-jazz and metal.


Saturday, April 14, 8pm
Chris Speed, saxophone; Oscar Noriega, saxophone; Trevor Dunn, bass; Jim Black, drums

The Maas Building, 1325 Randolph Street, $15

These four artists have been on the scene for many years, working with John Zorn, John Hollenbeck, Satoko Fuji, Susie Ibarra, Nels Cline, Mike Patton, Dave Douglas and Tom Rainey, and in celebrated ensembles such as The Claudia Quintet, Mr. Bungle, Alas No Axis, and Tim Berne’s Los Totopos and Bloodcount groups. With their collective years of diverse musical experiences, when they unite, Endangered Blood forms a sharp jazz-unit with the ferocity of a heavy-metal band.


Sunday, April 15, 8pm
Steve Lehman, saxophone; Chris Tordini, bass; Damion Reed, drums

The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Free

The first Philadelphia performance by the Steve Lehman Trio since 2009, and the saxophonist’s first local appearance since ANW’s three-night Composer Portrait: Fieldwork series last March. Whether working with artists like Anthony Braxton and Vijay Iyer, or with the Janacek Philharmonic, JACK Quartet or the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Lehman blurs the lines between traditions and sound-worlds, and consistently offers a unique musical vision, making him one of the most forward-thinking young composers today.


Saturday, April 21
Steve Coleman, alto saxophone; Jonathan Finlayson, trumpet; Miles Okazaki, guitar; Damion Reed, drums

Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Avenue, $15

“Coleman comes up with some of the most original song structures in jazz,” writes NPR. “In many others’ hands, they’d sound like algebra; with his virtuosity and arranging, it crackles with excitement.” Moving to New York City in the 1970s, Coleman worked with Sam Rivers, Cecil Taylor, David Murray and Dave Holland, then, along with young musicians like Greg Osby and Cassandra Wilson, he was a founding member of the M-Base movement. The last two years have seen Coleman pushing strongly into the future and creating the best music of his career with his long-running Five Elements ensemble. Both on Pi Recordings, Harvesting Semblances and Affinities (2010) and The Mancy Sound (2011) earned Coleman’s collective of rotating musicians critical praise from The New York Times, Downbeat and JazzTimes.


Ars Nova Workshop recommends:

Saturday, April 28, 8pm
Bobby Zankel, alto saxophone; Bryan Rogers, tenor saxophone; Elliott Levin, tenor/flute; Daniel Peterson, alto saxophone; Julian Pressley, baritone saxophone; Herb Robertson, trumpet; Bart Miltenberger, trumpet; Stan Slotter, trumpet; Adam Hershberger, trumpet; Fred Scott, trombone; Larry Toft, trombone; Dave Champion, trombone; Steve Swell, trombone; Tom Lawton, piano; Anthony Tidd, bass; Craig McIver, drums

Montgomery County Community College, 340 DeKalb Pike (Blue Bell), PA

Philadelphia saxophonist/bandleader Bobby Zankel’s big band the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound will premiere a new piece written expressly for the ensemble by legendary pianist/composer Muhal Richard Abrams. The band, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, will follow up their thrilling, acclaimed performances of pieces by innovative jazz saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa and Steve Coleman with this new addition to their weighty repertoire.